When I was a kid, all I wanted was a simple store where I can sell my iced candies (aka frozen iced juice) to our neighbours. That was until my parents showed me a bigger picture which is the place we call mall. My folks said that I could have it after graduating from college and that after earning my bachelor’s degree, it would be easier to have my own business. They thought it was easy to which the gullible in me believed in. Some years later, I left our country to earn money. Being abroad is a far cry from my plans, it is my last resort when it comes to work. However, a sense of euphoria fills me in knowing that I have fulfilled my mum’s dream when she was my age back then. Here are the lessons I have learned (and heard) the hard way to which I know my mum is smiling from ear to ear. Oh, if you only see her smile when I left our house as she hugged me tight! Is it because she knew that another headache (me) is gone?!
My attitude sucks big time especially my “patience quotient.” If there’s a cookie and mum promises to give me one more when she gets back home, I think I could wait for her. Another cookie sounds enticing to me so what I would do is I would lick the cookie then put it back on the plate. She would not know that I have tasted it, right?! Voila, another cookie is waiting for me! Of course, what happened in real life is the exact opposite! I am restless and not the type who can wait. Traveling and working abroad tested my patience, so much that it hurts. It may not entirely changed me but I could say that my patience have upped a bit. A good attitude will either make or break us and that’s what I am working on until now.
Not having ample skills will get us nowhere. I am not an authority to say what is skilled and what is not. However, I have observed that we must be flexible or else, we perish at the workplace. When you start working, you would be surprised that you are working for more than what you have signed for. If you are going to learn from it, take the challenge and learn everything you can. You may not get an increase but at least you get to have another work experience or another skill to master. And what if the company does not appreciate you? There’s a thing called choice and another thing called gut — get moving. You already know what to do.
Adventures can be found outside the confines of our home unless you consider breaking your own furnitures an adventure on its own. Adventures and getaways may mean different to each and everyone of us yet its common ground is fun. By fun, means having a worthwhile experience that will always make you want to do it again or simply reminisce why it happened and how it made you happy. Adventures also mean that you have tried doing things you never thought you would do whether it’s jumping off a cliff, diving, eating exotic foods, singing/dancing in front of a large crowd, making fun of yourself, the list goes on and on… <insert whatever you want to do that you haven’t done yet>. Go give it a try or you’ll regret that you never did.
Each individual is different. What is good to you may mean otherwise to the other individual so it would be better if we acknowledge where a certain person comes from. I have learned not to judge them and gained a broader understanding that cultures differ. Interacting with other people enables us to learn a lot from them, as to why they act and think that way. Another perspective is brought out in the open wherein we know that the world is not just revolving around us but to other people as well.
We are close to nothing if we do not know how to communicate. Without communication, there would be no relationships. While some people are innate with communication skills, it could also be learned diligently. By learning to listen, one can start communicating well. Most of us are avid talkers, not knowing when to keep our mouths shut. Why can’t we just listen eagerly to what the other individual has to say? We cannot form good relationships if we do not know how to communicate. What more getting a job if all we could do is talk about ourselves and not let the employer/recruiter have their chance to utter their sentences? What is good cover to a blabbermouth? A very sticky duct tape.
Without good health, forget working abroad unless you have a backer who would put you into employment and say that you are fit to work. Health is definitely wealth here. There is no point earning lots of bucks if your health suffers. Invest in healthy foods and foods that could benefit your mind and body. Supplements and medicines can only take you far and will just give you a run for your money. Stay healthy or say buh-bye to your visa/work permit. Being healthy is self-explanatory.
Being on your own is surreal and liberating. Having your own money and having to send some of it to your family back home is an achievement. I maybe shallow but I feel happy that I could give back something to them. I am not a self-acclaimed independent bloke but at least, I never ask someone for alms. I have learned to spend my money wisely and to spend within my means. It is perfectly okay to indulge on something only if you have paid your dues and paid yourself (savings, investment, etc.). Living abroad is very expensive and we should be aware that this kind of life is not forever unless you have become a permanent resident or a citizen to which there are no guarantees. Choose a lifestyle that you can sustain and support in the long haul.
Freedom is the kind of feeling where we could do what we want without having to worry what happens next. It is similar to independence but freedom is quite subjective. Freedom happens when we are in control of our lives and that happens when we know what we want and how to get it.
Being grateful is what keeps me going until this day. I appreciate the little things and feel happy. I feel blessed that I am able to wake up every morning. Not everyone does and this not a cliché. Thank yourself, thank your friends, thank the world. All these will love you back and make you appreciate yourself more.
After a hard day’s work, all we have is ourselves. There are times when there’s no one to talk to and nostalgia sets in. You gotta give yourself some lovin’ and do what makes you feel loved. You are an individual worthy to be loved and you deserve it. Don’t you ever forget that! I think I love myself now and so, I am preaching it.
No matter what age you are in, being a nomad once in your life is a one of the best experiences that would make you experience life. The lessons are indeed priceless and no amount of money can give you all these challenges. Changes, good and bad combined and all the other adventures might not have happened have it not for the nomadic life you have experienced. And even if you are home buddy or a so-called patriotic who never want to leave the country, being a nomad at times has its own rewards. After all, there is nothing to lose but only to gain, unless we are dead by default.
P.S. Mum, I know that your stomach ached from too much laughing after reading this. I could hear you fart now. Okay, you won. My life is never the same again!